Chicago Bulls Kevin Love Rumors: what do the Wolves want, and are the Bulls willing?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

We haven't heard too much about Kevin Love since the 'offer' report of last week. That's may be because The Finals are going on right now and only after which is a time (that coincides with the draft) when rumors really start heating up again.

Or the Wolves really aren't moving Kevin Love just yet, at least they don't have a plan. It's tough to figure out what's going on in Minnesota, and as someone who enjoys reading about  dysfunction I'm almost jealous. Wolves president Flip Saunders went Dick Cheney and led a coaching search towards himself, and our bro-site Canis Hoopus lamented both the process and tone of the result. Love himself probably isn't thrilled that his team's coaching search went this way, but then again Saunders is at least a fairly decent head coach who inspires more confidence than others he's interviewed. Sam Amick of USA Today had a source tell him that no hire would've made much of a difference and Love wants out regardless.

Saunders did his best to play it cool at his introductory (allow him to re-introduce himself) press conference. He went into the familiar line of the CBA allowing for Love to make the most by staying in Minnesota. Then later he made some strange comments about Love's personal commitment to the team, insinuating that his star had no place to be especially frustrated. Even if you can twist those words into making sense, it probably wasn't a great move.

Saunders also didn't tip much to the offers he's received, only to say that over half the league has been calling. It's possible that indeed the Bulls (nor anybody else) has made an explicit offer for Love, and that the report of such was merely illustrating that the Bulls showed interest, certainly could offer quite a bit, possibly the most of the teams mentioned in this budding sweepstakes.

That sort of depends on what the Wolves are trying to do in a potential Love deal should they decide they need to make a move now. Britt Robson had a great article last week on how the Wolves got to this point and how 'retooling' may be their best option given how many long-term contracts they already have on the books, and in that case "Chicago seems like the best trading partner." That belief is around the idea of Taj Gibson complementing the defensively-challenged Nikola Pekovic, but also other mid-level assets the Bulls could throw in plus the wildcard of Nikola Mirotic.

Mirotic has been touted as one with 'top-5' potential in the context of if he was drafted today, but his age and likely high price tag (and the effort of getting him stateside...who knows if he's less willing to play in Minnesota than for the Bulls) do mitigate that high praise a bit. So if the Wolves decide to bottom out instead, other suitors do have better draft picks than the Bulls. I'm not sure that's what Saunders wants as either a coach or president, but as Steve Aschburner posited, while his coaching record may suffer Saunders may have taken the reigns to simply have more control of a Love trade, and it's happening sooner rather than later.

Will the Bulls be ready, though? KC Johnson came with his signature bucket, saying "any suggestion an offer has been made or even a determination Love is their main offseason target instead of Carmelo Anthony would be premature". But he also strangely pointed to Love's potential maximum salary as a deterrent (using Taj's 'value contract' as a counterpoint), plus the assets that would possibly need to be given up in a trade.

Mentioning Love's contract struck me as odd because Carmelo Anthony, with his added years of service time in the league, would have a potential maximum salary of $5-6m more than Love. This has me inferring from KC that the Bulls plan is to wait and hope that Anthony comes to them on their terms,  either through a pay-cut significant enough to where they can retain Taj Gibson, or maybe the even more fantastical idea of forcing the Knicks to take Boozer.

With their "knowledge of the Bulls' thinking", KC and other beat writers have been pretty consistent on this, though on the bright side they've been wrong before. If it's 'top priority' to land Anthony, but not at the expense of Taj Gibson, then keeping Taj seems like the actual priority. And while he may cost more in terms of assets, Love is 5 years younger than Anthony, 3 years younger than Gibson, and already one of the top ten players in the league. He's a great complement to both Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, which to me is more important than his fit with Gibson or Jimmy Butler. Rose, Noah, and Love is a great big three and even if 'filler' around them (they'd still have their cap exceptions for free agency) isn't enough for a title run immediately, or Rose's knees and Noah's age (and also knees!) close that window, you would still have Love on the roster.

It's rare a player of his caliber and age is available, and thanks to Minnesota for that. If I were them, I'd be holding on to Love like grim death, but maybe they will continue their string of bad decisions. So let's hope Kevin Love isn't be traded to another team in the meantime and that offer could've been beaten.

I'd be super-excited for Carmelo Anthony to become a Bull, even moreso if he did take less to sign and the Bulls didn't have to trade away pieces. But I hope the plan is not to rely on Melo's magnanimity, which so far has just been 'play for a winner' platitudes.  Love is the kind of player you cultivate those assets and 'flexibility' for. Melo is too, actually, but let's hope the Bulls are being aggressive on one instead of simply waiting for the other.

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